Abu Dhabi eyes tourism boost from China

Tourism chiefs on five-city roadshow in People's Republic in bid to boost visitor numbers
Abu Dhabi eyes tourism boost from China
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 06 Apr 2012 09:28 AM

Tourism chiefs from Abu Dhabi are about to embark on a five-city roadshow in China in a bid to boost visitor numbers from the People's Republic.

A top level delegation is heading to Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong next week as Abu Dhabi looks to increase the length of stay of Chinese visitors to the UAE capital.

China is currently the emirate's eighth largest source market for hotel guests.

"While China is producing increasing numbers of hotel guests, the time they actually stay in the emirate, on average, is actually less than two days," said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, international promotions manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.

"We will be looking to convince Chinese visitors, through strong trade and media engagement, that there is now much more to see and do in Abu Dhabi than ever before so that they increase the number of nights they stay in the destination."

In the first two months of this year, 6,041 Chinese nationals stayed in Abu Dhabi's hotels - an 82 percent rise on the same period last year.

The Chinese guests accounted for 11,510 guest nights - a 57 percent rise on January and February 2011.

"The improved performance from China is largely a result of increased air access from various Republic destinations to Abu Dhabi International," said Al Nuaimi.

Etihad Airways last month began flying five times a week from Shanghai, adding to its existing services to Beijing and Chengdu.

The UAE's national airline also began codeshare flights with China's Hainan Airlines in a bid to further expand its reach into the Republic.

Etihad also has an MOU with China Eastern Airlines on future code sharing which will again extend its outreach into the key Chinese market.

Etihad Airways is among 11 key Abu Dhabi stakeholders joining the five city road show.

During the road show, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority will provide each stakeholder with a translator to ensure their messages are clearly understood by future Chinese partners.

"The prospects from China remain strong," said Al Nuaimi. "The Chinese are getting richer, but their cost of living is also getting higher and they therefore find it attractive to holiday abroad because it can be cheaper than spending vacations at home.

"We are looking to tap into this increased desire to travel. With the RMB currency becoming stronger and Abu Dhabi now experiencing more competitive rooms rates, we offer the Chinese traveller a more affordable destination to engage with luxury and culture."

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